Solidarity and Reverse Racism: How Right Wing Groups Educate the ‘Oppressed Majority’

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 09:10
Oral Presentation
Miranda CHRISTOU, University of Cyprus, Cyprus
This paper presents results from a study of the right-wing, nationalist party “ELAM” in Cyprus. ELAM is closely associated with Golden Dawn in Greece and has gained parliamentary presence for the first time in 2016. The study is located within larger debates about citizenship, solidarity and the fostering of social movements, especially through the use of new media (della Porta and Tarrow 2005; Adams and Roscigno, 2005). At the same time, I argue that the field of Sociology of Education must account for how youth are educated, galvanized and mobilized through the use of new media that has become a very successful tool in the spreading of xenophobia and neo-nationalism as well as the recruitment of youth in right-wing organizations. The paper combines analysis of multimedia material available on the group’s internet site and as well as semi-structured interviews with ELAM’s leadership and youth members. In this presentation I focus on ELAM’s rhetorical tactics in convincing the “oppressed majority” that their identity and mere existence is at stake. I employ a Critical Discourse Analysis approach (de Cillia et al.1999; Wodak et al., 2000) and focus particularly on the group’s use of justification strategies to defend their practice of “solidarity” that is designated “only for Greeks”. I point out that the discursive maneuvers used to defend their limited meaning of “solidarity”, “need” or “hardship” are central aspects of a strategy in which a “suspension of disbelief” is employed to justify a contradictory logic. I conclude that their use of “reverse racism” is an effective persuasion technique that appeals both on the negative aspects of racism as well as the valorization of victimhood. The paper explains how these results are connected to findings in other contexts and raise questions about the globalized nature of neo-nationalism.